October 15, 2019 - The City of Fort Wayne and Allen County are partnering to allow for a one-time horse trail ride to take place along the Wabash and Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

The event will be on Saturday, Oct. 19. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The meeting place will be Frontier Communications at 8001 West Jefferson Blvd., also known as Olde Canal Place, across from the entrance to Lutheran Hospital. Horses and their owners will be able to start the 7.7-mile roundtrip ride on the Towpath Trail anytime between 10 a.m. and noon. Horses and their owners will need to be finished with the ride by 3 p.m.

Horses will ride alongside the trail, but there will be a few locations where the horses will have to be on the trail or use pedestrian bridges. Other trail users are still welcome to use the Towpath Trail during the time of Trot the Trails, but they must yield to the horses. Horse manure will be collected by volunteers along the route.

This one-time event will assist Three Rivers Horse Trails, Inc. Theorganization was established to advocate for the development of equestrian trails in the community. They support efforts where the public can enjoy safe travel by horseback for recreation, connectivity and quality of life throughout northeast Indiana.  

“Allen County is number one in Indiana for the number of horses domiciled and has the 58th largest population of horses of any county in the United States. Trail riding is a very popular equestrian activity and currently horse trails don’t exist in our community. Equestrians must leave the county to enjoy trails. Horse trails exist all over the United States. They typically result in driving economic development, building quality of life and even improving property values,” said Lynn Sroufe, president, Three Rivers Horse Trails, Inc.

“Visit Fort Wayne approached the Allen County Commissioners last winter recommending that we consider creating horse trails in the county. They improve upon the quality of life and become an economic driver for communities that have them. We engaged a group of local equine enthusiasts and they have been diligently working to establish a not-for-profit corporation and investigating possible sites for horse trails. The Trot the Trails event on the Towpath Trail is their kickoff event to generate public awareness. We will see more possible horse trail sites as they are identified,” said Allen County Commissioner Richard Beck.

“The City of Fort Wayne is looking forward to being part of this unique opportunity to highlight our trail system and work together with Allen County government and Three Rivers Horse Trails, Inc.,” said Dawn Ritchie, greenways manager, City of Fort Wayne. “We’re continuing to grow our trails and greenways network to provide the public with quality of life amenities that make our community stronger and more vibrant.”

There is no charge for the event. However, donations to the Three Rivers Horse Trails group are welcome. Participants will need to sign a hold harmless release. Though this is a one-time event, additional events could take place next year if the outing is a success.   

If it rains significantly just prior to or the morning of the event, cancellation will be necessary. The horses will damage the turf alongside the trail if the ground is saturated. Attendees should check the Three Rivers Horse Trails Facebook page the morning of the event to confirm that the ride has not been cancelled due to inclement weather.